Interview: David Heinemeier Hansson, Creator of Ruby on Rails
David Heinemeier Hansson is a Danish programmer, creator of web development framework, Ruby on Rails, founder and CTO of leading project management tool, Basecamp, and class-winning endurance racing driver. In this interview, he shares his minimal, considered carry and how it fits into his everyday life.
What's in your everyday carry?
Red Bull carbon fiber sunglasses, Hublot Ayrton Senna mechanical watch, platinum wedding band, Moto X 2014 w/ wooden back, iPhone 6 black, standard leather wallet.
I carry two phones whenever I'm abroad. The iPhone has my US sim, so my main number still always works. The Motorola will get whatever local sim I'm using.
How do you typically spend a day at work?
Most of my day is either spend programming in the wonderful language that is Ruby, or dealing with the mechanics of running our 10 year-old Basecamp product and company.
What motivates you most to do great work?
As it pertains to code, I'm mostly motivated by things that are just not good enough. Code can be better written, software can be simpler, a company can be more harmonic, life can be more tranquil. Stoicism is a philosophy of life that resonates with me deeply.
Besides your prolific programming career, what else are you passionate about?
I love motor racing and participate in the World Endurance Championship and its marquee event the 24 hours of Le Mans. I'm also an avid photographer. And I love spending time with my wife and little boy.
Your carry is quite minimal, but if you had to choose — what’s your favorite item out of your few essentials?
My favorite daily carry is probably my mechanical watch. It's just a joy to marvel at. I've worn it for many years now. Consumer electronics come and go, but the Hublot Senna has been on my wrist through some truly epic moments in my life: The birth of my son, getting married, winning at the 24 hours of Le Mans.
Why do you EDC?
I love practical works of art. Mechanical watches fills that role great for me. They're completely outdated in the functional sense of the word, but it's a testament to human accomplishment and drive that we still bother. Carrying that on my wrist feels great.
I also love tactile consumer electronics. The Moto X is the best feeling phone I've had, mostly due to that lovely real wood back. The iPhone 6 next to it is better in almost every objective way, but I still love the Moto.
Both the sunglasses and the watch are made from carbon fiber. Beautiful material that's also strong and light. It's also what the race cars I drive are made of.
What new challenges are you tackling these days?
I'm always working on making Basecamp and Rails better. It's been 10 years, but there's still so much to do, and I still have so much fun doing it. I also just raced in the 24 hours of Le Mans for the fourth time earlier this June.
Any parting words or final advice for our readers?
Happiness is a choice.
Main and EDC photos courtesy of David Heinemeier Hansson, inline images via his Instagram.